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Journal Publishes PCRM's Childhood Obesity Conference Proceedings

Childhood obesity became a hot topic this year. Everyone from the first lady to celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver joined the dialogue on how to fight America’s childhood obesity epidemic. PCRM’s National Conference on Childhood Obesity helped kick off that conversation last summer. This month, the conference’s proceedings are published in a supplement in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

child eathing healthy foodAs Congress prepares to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, which helps determine what foods are in the school breakfasts and lunches served to 30 million children, the recommendations for plant-based diets in the supplement’s six peer-reviewed articles of the conference's proceedings, which were co-sponsored by the Cancer Project, are especially timely.

“My hope is that the information provided will further our knowledge in the best practices for the prevention and management of childhood obesity and will empower health professionals and policymakers to work together to overcome societal and environmental challenges,” says guest scientific editor Michelle Wien, Dr.P.H., R.D., of Loma Linda University.

In “Vegetarian Diets and Childhood Obesity Prevention,” Joan Sabaté, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor of nutrition and chair of the Loma Linda University Nutrition School of Public Health, writes, “The prevention of obesity in childhood and adolescence by the adoption of a vegetarian diet will subsequently decrease a broad range of adverse health effects in childhood. 

“Local, national, and international food policies are warranted to support social marketing messages and to reduce the social, cultural, economic, and political forces that make it difficult to promote plant-based dietary patterns. … Studies exploring the risk of overweight and food groups and dietary patterns indicate that a plant-based diet seems to be a sensible approach for the prevention of obesity in children.”

In “Childhood Obesity and Adult Morbidities,” the authors, Wien and Frank Biro, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, note, “The consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity include … type 2 diabetes … cardiovascular disease as well as several cancers.”  

The Healthy School Meals Act, H.R. 4870, recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., would help reduce childhood obesity and these risks by rewarding school districts for offering plant-based vegetarian options and healthful nondairy beverages to students through the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program. It would create a pilot program to provide select schools with high-fiber, low-fat vegetarian protein products and nondairy milk options.

To view all of the supplement’s abstracts or download the entire supplement, visit the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition website.


PCRM Online, May 2010

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